Four spots are there for the taking in Victoria for the FFA Cup qualification, and four Greek-sponsored teams are in contention.
South Melbourne, South Springvale (Aris), Oakleigh Cannons and Heidelberg United are all vying for a spot to the round of 32 after beating some tough opponents in their preliminary matches.
FFA Cup darlings, Aris will have a huge Greek derby to contend with as they take on Oakleigh Cannons in the blockbuster match of the qualifiers this Wednesday.
Cannon’s coach Arthur Papas will be bringing a resurgent strength, desperate to show the team is not a lost cause after its abysmal start to the season.
Papas knows he’ll be facing a much more experienced FFA Cup team, and says he won’t be complacent.
“Everyone knows Aris as being the success story of the Cup last year (and this year as well), so we’re not going to be complacent,” he tells Neos Kosmos.
“It’s going to be a tricky tie, especially since it’s being played at their grounds.”
He says he’s adjusted his training schedule to include more recovery sessions seeing as the team has had a gruelling fixture timetable.
“It’s going to be the second time in three weeks that we’ve got three games in the week,” Papas says.
“So the main thing is to keep the players fresh, recovering well and making sure when they’re entering the ground they’re as close to optimum level as possible.”
Papas has managed to take down one of the NPLV’s best, with South Melbourne earning its first loss of the season in round 14 against the Cannons.
Bill Lambropoulos was able to ferry Aris to the top 16 of the competition last year, a fairytale run. The nimble Aris’ boys were able to capitalise on their opponent’s complacency and secured some extraordinary wins. The Cannons could face an embarassing defeat at the hands of Aris on Wednesday.
South Melbourne will be hosting Frankston Pines at the same time.
Currently third in the NPL, South Melbourne is the favourite for the match, but coach Chris Taylor won’t be relying on odds to win. The state league outfit managed to upset NPL club Avondale 1-0 on Sunday, and can do it again South suffer from concentraion lapses.
Heidelberg United have a week to see how their NPL clubmates fare before they take on Goulburn Valley Suns on June 24.
Very much the favourites to take the win thanks to their almost faultless season so far, Heidelberg will be chasing an early goal to secure their win.
South Melbourne v Frankston Pines: Wed 17 June
South Springvale v Oakleigh Cannons: Wed 17 June
Hume City v Kingston City FC: Wed June 24
Heidelberg United v Goulburn Valley Suns: Wed 24 June